The challenge we face with millennials

by MPA02 Sep 2014
By David Lykken
Special to MPA

I recently came across an article suggesting that the number of millenials (typically defined as those born since 1982) in the population now outweighs the number of baby boomers in the population. What that means, of course, is that the economy will now be driven primarily by this new generation with a different set of goals and values. What worked in the past may not work in the future. Or, at least, we may have to find different methods for making it work.
In the mortgage industry, the challenge is clear: getting millenials to care about owning homes. Many young people are beginning to see home ownership as a traditional value held by their parents rather than as a basic human desire. Millenials tend to be more fluid--moving from place to place without a sense of permanence. Settling down doesn't seem to be on their radar.
One thing to consider, however, is what is really causing this shift in values. Is it that this new generation just isn't that interested in home ownership? Or, rather, is it that this new generation hasn't yet had the opportunity to achieve the level of prosperity achieved by their parents? In other words, is it values that are changing--or is it merely the economy?
The economy over the last decade has been tough on everyone. Many young people today are still living with their parents well into their late twenties. They haven't yet had the chance to strive for ideals like home ownership. Perhaps, then, home ownership isn't dead. It's just asleep with the rest of the economy. And, as professionals in the mortgage industry, we need to be ready to serve this new buyer when it awakens.

David Lykken is 40-year industry veteran who consults on virtually all aspects of mortgage banking. David hosts a successful weekly radio program called “Lykken On Lending” ( that is heard each Monday at noon (Central Standard Time) by thousands of mortgage professionals.


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